Lady Lunas softball team wins MIL championship
LAHAINA – Things were looking bleak for the Lahainaluna High School softball team as an already thin roster was depleted further at spring break, and the defending Maui Interscholastic League champion Lady Lunas were forced to forfeit two contests to begin the second half of league play in the middle of the pack.
But buoyed by the leadership of veteran coach Lei Nakamura, Lahainaluna battled back in the second half of MIL play entering the league tournament that determines the overall champion and seeding to the state tournament next week in Honolulu.
The Lady Lunas fought their way to the tournament final versus 2018 league kingpin Baldwin and defeated the Lady Bears to force a winner-take-all championship final last week.
In a thriller that defines the never say die mindset of all Lahainaluna teams, the Lady Lunas pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the seventh and final inning to secure this year’s MIL championship and the top seed to the state playoffs.
Coach Lei was emotionally charged after the game that she described as “a great game that we will remember for years to come and a fitting finish to the year in the MIL.”
She thanked her coaching staff made up of husband Flint Nakamura, daughter Brenna Nakamura, Shan Tsutsui and Hope Morikawa.
Congratulations to the Lady Lunas roster led by seniors Mia Gerbig, who scored the winning run in the championship game, and Liliola Vehikite, the stalwart catcher in the lineup; juniors Nohili Hong, Deisha Dagdag, Seraya Casco (the team’s reliable pitcher throughout the season), Kaaina Kalanikau, Ocean Makekau and Keani Pagan; sophomore Lily Kamaunu; and first-year players Mikala Basques and Kimberlyn Pagan.
In losing just two seniors to graduation, Coach Lei is naturally pleased with the future prospects of Lahainaluna softball.
She said, “This a very young team with so much potential, and they are so happy and energetic all the time. A great group!”